Jun 232019

Welcome to our AMEP Sunday – that is, our Annual Meeting of Enrolled Parishioners.  Quite a mouthful.

The meeting is at 11:30am today and usually takes about one hour.  It is a formal meeting that deals with Reports, Elections and Budgets.  We always finish with a time for Q&A but the meeting cannot address business from the floor that has not been submitted previously.  No business has been submitted for this meeting.  If something comes up, we table it for the first meeting of the new church council known as the PC.

I have just come from a meeting with Graham Whitley and John Pearman.  We have been discussing Kalobeyei.  We have been asking ourselves, What has God spurred us to do there?  What should the scope and extent of our involvement be and for how long?  What governance structures need to be in place to enable us to be responsible to you, the people of St Philips, as Kalobeyei could be all-consuming and endless?  How much should we ask of you, and how do we communicate better?

We asked ourselves the same questions about The Common.  Brenda Hogg and Barb Totterdell sit on their management committee, bringing expertise and structure around key governance issues.

Underlying it all is, What we are about as a church?  What are we doing and why are we doing it, and how do we do it well, responsibly and sustainably?  What do we say yes to and no to, and why?  These are all time-consuming and tricky questions, especially when progress is slow, headwinds are strong and the naysayers are gathering.

Here is the thing:

Following Jesus is not like driving on a freeway.  Jesus bursts everyone’s bubble on what following Him looks like.  I am happy to say, “I will follow you,” but I have my own ideas and expectations about what that will look like.   In Matt 8:18-22, the scribe had his idea, and it didn’t involve not having a home.  The disciple’s idea didn’t involve seeming to neglect his responsibility to his parents.  The fishermen disciples’ idea certainly didn’t involve drowning in the place they went to work each day.

If we at St Philips are trying to follow Jesus for the next twelve months, it will mean we will have to do something – step out, make a judgment, a jump, even a leap.  We will get things wrong and right.

You don’t want a church or leaders who don’t want to go anywhere.  Though it might make for a cosy place, it will soon become boring.

Moving things encounter storms and disruption.

Can we do that – follow Jesus together – in 2019/2020?  Can we care for and respect each other as we all do our bit and our best to follow Jesus together – even if we are unsure, disagree, are scared or feel lost?

I know we can, and our faith will be better for it.

With love, appreciation and blessing for, of and on you all.


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